A neo-Nazi skinhead from Spokane is under arrest in South Dakota and will be questioned about an execution-style triple murder in Arkansas.
At least two other suspects, one with ties to the Northwest, are being sought for questioning about the murders of Arkansas gun dealer William Mueller, his wife and her daughter, law enforcement sources say.
Sean Michael Haines was caught Tuesday with an assault rifle stolen from Mueller, authorities said Wednesday.
Mueller feared for his life after masked intruders stole $50,000 worth of precious metals, coins and firearms from his home in Tilly, Ark., on March 9, 1995.
The case is one of two Arkansas gun-dealer thefts being scrutinized by FBI agents investigating the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing that killed 169.
Both dealers are part of the “patriot movement” and have militia ties. They regularly sold guns at shows in the Middle West and South attended by militia members.
Guns and a vault key stolen on Nov. 5, 1994, from another Arkansas gun dealer, Roger Moore, later were found at the Michigan home of Oklahoma bombing suspect Terry Nichols.
Federal agents and detectives in Arkansas are trying to figure out how the Spokane skinhead ended up with the assault rifle stolen from Mueller. His body was found June 29 in an Arkansas bayou.
“We have a detective heading up there now to question him about our triple-murder case,” said Dillard Bradley, undersheriff in Pope County, Ark.
Haines, 19, was arrested Tuesday at a freeway rest stop near Sioux Falls, S.D., and is being held on two counts of grand theft. Bond has been set at $50,000.
He heads a Spokane skinhead group known as “Blood and Honor,” law enforcement sources say. Its members were recently linked to distribution of racist literature in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
Haines’ arrest apparently was made after a routine traffic stop, but details were not available.
Police searching his vehicle found a Bushmaster .223-caliber assault rifle. A national computer check of the serial number on the weapon showed it was one of the guns stolen from Mueller.
A second weapon, possibly stolen from a burglary in Washington state, also was recovered from Haines’ vehicle, authorities said.
Authorities aren’t saying whether the assault rifle was stolen in the March 1995 burglary of Mueller’s home, or if it was taken when the gun dealer and his family disappeared last January.
Mueller didn’t trust banks and had converted much of his assets to gold and silver bullion, which he took with him to gun shows, said his friend, George Eaton.
Eaton, formerly of Sandpoint, now lives in Uniontown, Ark., where he publishes a patriot newsletter, The Patriot Report.
Eaton told the Arkansas Democrat newspaper last July that Mueller feared for his family’s safety after the firearms and bullion were stolen.
Eaton said Mueller, a Wal-Mart electrician, may have known who stole his guns and bullion, and worried that the masked thieves would return and kill him.
Mueller disappeared Jan. 5 along with his wife and her daughter after leaving for a gun show in northwest Arkansas. They were riding in a Jeep and pulling a gun trailer.
The Jeep and empty trailer were found abandoned in February near Dover, Ark.
Four months later, the decomposed bodies of Mueller, 53, his wife, Nancy, 28, and Sarah, 8, were found by a fisherman in the 20-foot-deep Illinois Bayou, near Russellville, Ark.
Plastic bags were pulled over the victims’ heads and wrapped with duct tape. Mueller and his wife were also handcuffed. Autopsies revealed each victim was shot in the head.
Haines has had past associations with the Aryan Nations in North Idaho.
Four members of his “Blood and Honor” group are serving jail terms after being convicted of firing a handgun at three men outside a Cheney pizza parlor last March, police said.
Haines was part of a group of skinheads who showed up in Sandpoint on June 16, 1995, to protest a speech by civil rights leader Bill Wassmuth of Seattle.
At that time, Haines said he was living in Coeur d’Alene and was the “Aryan youth coordinator.” He was born in California and has lived in Portland.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: The trail of Sean Haines